Synth Album Review: "The Great Western Industrial Zone" by Ametrom
Ametrom’s album The Great Western Industrial Zone is an interesting mixture of warm electric guitar, synths with all kinds of different timbres and tones and drums that are also full of variety. There’s some experimental qualities to the music, but it is often quite melodic and occasionally veers into the beautiful. It’s another example of the sheer variety that exists in modern synth based music.
The guitar work on the album has a warmth to it and often contains elements that veer into folk music territory. There’s something inviting about the way the guitar sounds on The Great Western Industrial Zone. It possesses a mellow, soothing quality but it isn’t so soothing that one’s attention drifts from it. The melodies on it are often touched with both hope and melancholy which is a combo that I enjoy.
One thing that isn’t lacking on the album is a diversity of sounds. There are some quite different sounding synths on the album that cover the gamut from airy to rough and from clear to distorted. Sometimes the leads are resonant and at other times they are high and bright. I also like the way that some of the more computerized sounding synths contrast with the easy flowing feeling of the guitar work on The Great Western Industrial Zone.
There are also some great percussion grooves on the album. Ametrom seems to be skilled at varying the different beats and tempos of the drums to add more energy or create hypnotic patterns that generate a more trance-like feeling in the music. Locked in with the percussion, the bass adds solidity and on a few tracks gets right into the pocket and hangs out there, grooving along with the drums.
My Favourite Tracks
“A Stone Groove” has a fun, poppy melody and a groove that’s pretty hypnotic in nature. The track is full of long washes of synth flowing through it and there’s an overall sense of smoothness in all of the musical elements. The way that the synth notes move adds energy to the whole track. I was also into the electric bass guitar that kicked into the track. The groove it created really felt like it was “in the pocket.” The melody had a sense of hope about it that I enjoyed.
There are quite a few moving pieces to “Cowley’s OODA Loop” from the positive vibes oozing from the main melody to the deep bass and percussion pulse. The drums here have another addictive groove to them. I like the brightness and bursting quality of the lead synth and the way the melody keeps dancing through the track. There was also a hopeful, soaring secondary melody line that I felt added glow to the track. I felt something playful emanating from the music here.
“Yoyogi” is defined by the full tones of an electric guitar that plays a melody with a certain folk music quality to it. It had elements of what might even be called “Americana” in it. I also liked the easy flow of the beat and the lead synth melody that sang with warmth. The overall impression I got from this track is one of gentle and caressing sounds that enfold you as you listen. I felt a sense of hope as I listened to the music.
There’s some touching and moving guitar work on “The Next Time We’re Together” that expresses a melancholy feeling. The warm guitar jangles out into the music and lends a certain feeling of nostalgia to the track. I was also drawn to the drums on the track. They, along with the bass throb, provide a solid anchor for the music. The use of electric bass guitar adds a moving energy to the track. There was a nice motion overall to all of the elements in the music here.
“Warsaw Waves” has the feeling of house music in the throb of the beat. I was a big fan of the funky synths that move in cascading waves through the music. The lead synth is ethereal and warm as it glides into the track. I enjoyed the groovy, jazzy and funky middle section played on a unique sounding synth that had organ and piano elements to it.
Ametrom has combined some warm tones, interesting melodies and beats along with an overall feeling of smoothness and ease on The Great Western Industrial Zone. There’s a lot going on in his music but it didn’t feel too busy to me in spite of that. He managed to keep a sense of balance in the music. Overall I’d say that I found the sound of the album rather interesting.